Forskolin for Weight Loss, Benefits and Side effects

Every year new supplements appear on the market that claim to be the new remedy when it comes to weight loss. One of these new weight loss supplements is forskolin. Forskolin naturals are gaining popularity worldwide as a new diet pill. And I can tell by the emails in my inbox. I’m often asked if forskolin is worth a try.

What exactly is forskolin and can it deliver the spectacular slimming claims? Read this article and you’ll find out if forskolin is worth your money if you want to lose weight successfully.

What’s Forskolin?

A search on the world’s most popular search engine produces thousands of forskolin results.

It soon becomes clear to me that tens of thousands of people are looking for alternative methods of weight loss. Forskolin could also help with losing weight.

But what exactly is that? Further on in the article I’ll give you a detailed overview of the research results on forskolin and find out if forskolin can fulfill all these slimming claims.

Let’s see what forskolin really is. Forskolin is an active substance that occurs naturally in the roots of the Indian coleus (Coleus forskohlii plant). This is a tropical plant related to mint.

For centuries this plant has been used in traditional herbal medicine to treat various conditions and diseases (source). What about the link to forskolin and losing weight? That’s why we have to go to the United States.

Forskolin only really became popular as a slimming tool when it was praised in the Dr. Oz Show in 2014. Forskolin was mentioned as a natural plant substance that would be an impressive slimming supplement. TV doctors and nutritionists praised forskolin as the new answer to weight loss.

But does forskolin really have powerful properties that can help with losing weight? Or should the benefits be nuanced to some extent? I figured it out for you.

Read on and find out the truth about forskolin for weight loss.

Lose weight with forskolin naturals?

In recent years a lot of research has been done on the effects of forskolin on fat metabolism. I would like to mention right away that most of these studies have not been tested on humans but on rats.

Forskolin was shown in these rat studies to stimulate the release of stored fat from fat cells (source, source). The same process happens when the body needs to use body fat for energy. In itself, the release of stored fat is not enough to promote weight loss. It must always be accompanied by a calorie deficiency.

Forskolin stimulates the release of stored fat from fat cells, an effect that does not necessarily cause weight loss. After all, you can only lose weight if your energy consumption is greater than your energy intake. This causes a calorie deficiency which forces your body to use another source of energy (e.g. muscle tissue and body fat).

Clinical studies have yielded some interesting results that I will discuss in the next chapter.

Do you want to lose weight on a pill?

An effective and powerful supplement that supports weight loss is glucomannan. This is because the fibers of glucomannan absorb a lot of water and thus contribute to reduced appetite and an increased feeling of satiety.

Does forskolin help with weight loss?

Although it may not have mythical fat-burning benefits, forskolin can be useful and has several ancestors. So far, only two small studies have investigated the effects of forskolin on weight loss in humans (source, source).

Both were randomized, controlled studies: the gold standard of scientific research in humans. The first study on the effects of forskolin and weight loss was carried out in 2005 on 30 overweight or obese men.

This group of men were then randomly divided into two groups. In this study, which lasted 3 months, each male participant had to take a placebo twice a day or a 250 mg Coleus forskohlii extract (10% forskolin).

The results? Compared to the placebo group, the men who took forskolin lost significantly more fat, but the total body weight did not change (source).

There was also a significant increase in free testosterone values in the forskolin group. Testosterone can stimulate the release of fat from fat cells, which in part may explain fat loss in the forskolin group (source).

An increase in testosterone in men can also promote an increase in lean mass (bodyweight without fat mass), which reduces the amount of fat in the body as a percentage.

Later that year, a second study with human participants was conducted at the American Baylor University in Texas. In this study 23, slightly overweight women were used as subjects. The women were given the same dosage as the men in the first study, namely 500 mg Coleus forskohlii per day.

In contrast to the previous study, the forskolin dose in the female participants had no significant effect on fat loss.

The only positive thing about this study was that the results suggested that forskolin might protect against weight gain (source).

In the study conducted in rats, investigators administered forskolin and rolipram (drug) to 50 female rats for 10 weeks. The rats were divided into five control groups, including one control group and four combinations of diet plus supplementation (source).

The study with rats concludes that both forskolin and rolipram stimulate fat burning (lipolysis) and prevent weight gain.

This is in line with the second human study that found that forskolin supplements can help maintain weight. Two human studies and a rat study have investigated the effect of forskolin on weight loss.

What can we deduce from this?

That taking forskolin supplements for a period of 12 weeks does not lead to weight loss. In only one study did forskolin supplementation cause significant fat loss, but the bodyweight did not decrease.

Forskolin may improve body composition (lean mass) in men and prevent weight gain in women.

But the current evidence is not very strong. More research is therefore needed to be able to make recommendations with forskolin.

Health benefits of forskolin

Although forskolin may not be the panacea you had hoped for, there are several health benefits supported by scientific evidence.

Some of the health benefits of forskolin are:

#1: Reduces the risk of high blood pressure

Forskolin has been used for a long time to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). A study conducted in India found that the active ingredient forskolin in the Coleus forskohlii plant caused a reduction in blood pressure in more than 75% of the participants (source).

In addition to supplements, there are plenty of foods that have a positive effect on lowering high blood pressure. Think fatty fish (omega-3 fatty acids), garlic, dark chocolate, green tea, etc. How you can lower your blood pressure, in a natural way, you can read in my article with 20 tips to lower your blood pressure.

And of course regular exercise and stress reduction play an important role.

#2: Helps to stay on (healthy) weight

It has not yet been unequivocally established that forskolin helps with weight loss. But what has been proven is that weight gain can occur in people who are overweight or obese.

In combination with a healthy lifestyle, forskolin can be used to maintain a healthy weight.

#3: Possibly lowers blood sugar levels

There is evidence that forskolin may help maintain healthy blood sugar levels. The 2014 study in rats investigated the effectiveness of forskolin on blood sugar levels and oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress is a disturbance in the balance between the production of free radicals and the defence system of antioxidants. The study shows that regular administration of forskolin for 8 weeks lowered blood glucose levels in sobriety.

Although this preliminary study shows that this supplement may possibly help (pre)diabetics, research must first be conducted on humans before its efficacy can be proven.

#4: Possibly effective in treating Alzheimer’s disease

In 2016, a rat study showed that forskolin may be effective in treating Alzheimer’s disease. Admit it, this is a rat study and the research is still in its infancy. Yet the results are promising.

In rats, the formation of harmful structures in the brain, including amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles (source), is reduced.

Forskolin and Garcinia Cambogia

Another popular supplement for weight loss is Garcinia Cambogia, which is often compared to forskolin. This is not so strange, because it is the same Doctor Oz who helped the tropical fruit Garciana Combogia to become famous in his show.

Also the active substance HCA in the fruit of Garcinia Cambogia, should lead to spectacular weight loss results. However, like most ‘miracle supplements’, the actual results are not as exciting as is claimed.

Like forskolin, Garcinia Cambogia may help a little with losing weight, but it is not as effective as is often thought. The abdominal fat unfortunately does not melt away after swallowing a few pills of forskolin or Garcinia Cambogia.

Let’s look at the similarities and differences of these two hyped supplements.

  • Both forskolin and Garciana Cambogia have been mentioned as a panacea for losing weight quickly.
  • They are also both natural supplements derived from plants.
  • Garcinia cambogia has been shown to help suppress appetite, while there is no significant evidence that forskolin does so.
  • The benefits of Garcinia Cambogia that can be proven are actually mainly limited to lowering cholesterol, while the health benefits of forskolin are diverse.
  • Yet the biggest claims (rapid weight loss) are not supported by scientific research.

What you often see is that a well-known person like Dr. Oz, for example, completely overhyped supplements in the media. And that doesn’t really help anyone because it only causes disappointment.

And if one of those pills really works so well, why bring a new one on the market afterwards? It shows that most supplements do not live up to their claims.

Side effects: Is forskolin dangerous?

The proven benefits of forskolin may not be spectacular, but can it hurt to use forskolin?

  • No, a healthy adult should be able to use forskolin without any problems.
  • No significant side effects have been reported for forskolin supplements, but you should follow the guidelines to stay safe.
  • The only side effects that have been observed is that the intake of forskolin can cause a rapid or irregular heartbeat in some people.
  • If you experience these symptoms, consult your doctor immediately and stop using forskolin.
  • Because of the way forskolin lowers blood pressure, people with low blood pressure should avoid the supplement anyway.


Based on the Forskolin studies, the usual dose is Forskolin:

  • 250 mg of a 10% forskolin extract twice daily (studied for 12 weeks)

Forskolin: Where to buy?

Forskolin supplements (forskolin naturals, forslean, etc.) can easily be ordered at dozens of online drugstores.

Like many weight loss supplements used for weight loss, there are many unreliable companies on the Internet that sell weight-loss products and do not contain the ingredients they claim to possess.

For health reasons, I recommend that you only buy supplements from trusted companies and websites. Also, follow the dosing instructions carefully and do not experiment with different doses yourself.

The combination Forskolin Naturals with Detox plus was also for some time an offer offered on the internet.  Experiences are different and not all positive.

Conclusion: is forskolin worth it?

The big question is: what can we conclude about forskolin and is it worth a try?

Based on current research results and experience, it is clear that forskolin does not cause weight loss and current research results are far too limited to draw any meaningful conclusions.

Forskolin does offer some health benefits and possibly helps to stay on weight by preventing extra weight gain. This is not a license to eat more with forskolin, there’s a good chance you’ll gain weight.

Unfortunately, the abdominal fat does not melt away after the use of forskolin supplementation. In men, it has been shown to increase testosterone levels and improve body composition.

Anyway, it is always wise to be skeptical about most slimming supplements. Most slimming supplements advertise promising research results, but these kinds of cited studies have almost always been done with animals or are not statistically significant. That makes them unusable in most cases and not saying as much.

It’s not impossible to lose weight quickly, but you won’t succeed with an unproven pill that can’t live up to its claims.

The most effective way to lose weight healthily and successfully is still to change your current diet. Bring the eating of (processed) carbohydrates back into balance with a low-carb diet and become more physically active.

Once you know what to do, it becomes so much easier to reach your target weight.

Do you want to lose weight on a pill?

An effective and powerful supplement that supports weight loss is glucomannan. This is because the fibers of glucomannan absorb a lot of water and thus contribute to reduced appetite and an increased feeling of satiety.

Fan of everything health and fitness related. My mission is to share my knowledge and experience with as many people as possible and help them to find their ideal path to perfect health.